Wednesday, 11 September 2013

All aboard! Choo choo!

Come with me on a pictorial journey back in time to the golden age of steam travel. Pack up your leather suitcases, write out your labels, find your gloves and hat, buy your tickets, bring some money for the buffet car and off we go!

We are taking a trip on the North Norfolk Railway built in 1887. The 10.5 mile round trip from Weybourne to Holt and Sherringham passes through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. We will see woodland, farmland, poppies, windmills, villages and the sea!

Today's steam engine is the 76084  The Broadsman which was built in Horwich in 1957 for British Rail. It spent most of it's working life on journeys in the North West of England, around Darwin and Wigan. When it was no longer in use it was sent to a scrapyard before being rescued, via the rescuers back garden, until being restored and put back into use.

Shall we get to the station?

Better buy our tickets, including one for the dog.

The clerk issues us all with our tickets.

Have you got that luggage ready?

There are 20 minutes to wait until the train, I think we will be better off in the comfort of the waiting room don't you?

I wish the fire was lit. Never mind, I am going to admire the handmade tufted rug and look at all the pictures.

Or possibly I am just going to sink into this chair and wrap myself up in the lovely tartan travel blanket.

Quick, gather up all your belongings, the train has arrived. Let us go and choose our carriage.

Twist the handle and open the door.

Mind the gap when climbing aboard.

Number 27 can be our seat.

Get the luggage up on the racks before the train starts to move!

Looking around the carriage and corridor here are some things that I can see.

The light switch for the carriage.

The decorative radiator cover.

Well this is relaxing. Sitting back, listening to the clickety clack of the carriages on the rails, watching the puffs of steam drift past the windows, listening for the choo choo call of the siren which heralds the entrance and exit of a tunnel. The fields rush by, I pull down the window and feel the air moving past my face, smelling the coal burning and getting smuts in my hair. Good job my hat covers most of it! I can see the sea! We sit and chatter, admiring the view and enjoying our journey.

All too soon it comes to an end as we reach our destination. We never did get to the buffet car!

The steam engine needs to refill it's water tank from the pipe near the signal box.

As we walk past we can take a peek into the Station Master's room which has his range for making a cup of tea, his table to look at the timetable of the trains and his sink for a wash and brush up before greeting the passengers.

We walk past the advertising signs and wonder what is for tea. Travelling always makes one peckish.

It is not yet time to light the lamps.

I am very glad that there was no need to use these.

As we walk out of the station we stop to admire the little cottage made from old railway carriages and wonder what it would be like to live in one. We know it has a cosy living room with a fire, two bedrooms with patchwork quilts on the beds and a little kitchen with shelves stocked with jam.

We take a look at the neat vegetable garden and try to identify what they are growing.

Thank you for being my travelling companions and for enjoying the glories and glamour of steam travel with me.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Top Ten current favourite vintage brooches.

I love a brooch. Or two. Or three! I wear one almost every day and have quite a collection going on. They are such an easy accessory, just place, pin and go, yet they can make a huge difference to finishing off an outfit and giving a period feel. I tend to wear mine on my left hand side on a cardigan or dress. I sometimes place them on a collar or to do up a scarf. I also use them to pin together any V neck dresses that show more than I am prepared to reveal! Remember that they can also be pinned on a hat, a turban, a bag, a belt or a coat. You can alter the effect by having a single brooch or placing them in a cluster or by using two similar ones in the same way that you might use dress clips. You can also pin them to a fabric hairband or just a piece of fabric or a scarf to tie around your head to add some glamour to your hair.

Due to my affection for brooches I tend to notice them on other people's outfits, admiring them, looking at styling ideas and sometimes downright coveting them. Someone else who has a brooch collection that I admire is the lovely Jessica from the fabulous blog Chronically Vintage. When commenting on a gorgeous brooch on one of her outfit posts we had a little chat and the idea of current favourite brooches came about. When you have a brooch collection obviously you do want to wear them all but at the same time you do tend to have favourites. However, these favourites change over time with new acquisitions (of both brooches and clothes) and the rediscovering of ones that have languished at the back of a drawer or box for some time.

So without further ado and with thanks to Jessica here are my top ten current favourite brooches.

I found this at a vintage fair amongst a huge selection and pounced on it straight away. It is an early plastic and I really like the geometric style. But the thing that attracted me most was the colour combination because it made me wonder if it could be a piece of suffragette jewellery. This is jewellery in the colours of either of the two main UK suffrage organisations which women wore to show their support for the suffrage cause. In 1908 the Women's Social and Political Union (founded in 1903 by Emmeline Pankhurst) decided on purple, white and green as their colours. Purple symbolised dignity, white symbolised purity and green symbolised hope. I guess I will never know but I like the fact that at the very least the brooch symbolises the suffrage movement to me.

I could probably do a top ten animal brooch post (in fact, I might), but this little chap is one of my favourites. I think I got him from a vintage fair. He is a marcasite Scottie dog and is just so cheerful. You can almost see him wagging his tail. Scottie dogs were a popular motif in the 1930s and again in the 1950s and brooches of them were produced in metal, Bakelite, wood, marcasite and felt amongst others.

This is the first of several brooches to feature pearls in my top ten. I love pearls as much as I love brooches so it is very exciting for me when I find the two combined. I like the fact that this looks like pearls and diamonds ( a winning combination ) but sadly it is made of neither. The pearls are just coated in a pearlescent paint and I imagine the diamonds are glass. However, I don't mind at all as it is still very glamorous and it was only £3 in a charity shop.

I have several wreath shaped brooches and it was the gorgeous violets in this that attracted me at a vintage fair. They are hand painted on metal and have gemstones (probably paste) in their centres. the colours are very delicate and are just enormously attractive. It feels quite a ladylike piece.

This is from an antiques/junk shop and it was the lovely colours that attracted me. It is very bright and shiny and looks particularly good cheering up a plain knit in grey or black. It reminds me a little of a plume of feathers or of a sort of Fleur de Ly's. I think it is a 1950s piece but I wear it on vintage and modern clothes.

Another pearl! This brooch is very special because I bought it to wear on my wedding day. My parents very kindly bought me a pearl necklace to wear on the day and my lovely husband bought me some pearl earrings so I wanted a brooch to make up a set. It was also my something old. My dress had a collar that was a cross between a short funnel collar and a boat neck and I pinned the brooch on there. It is a piece of Christian Dior costume jewellery and I found it in a vintage clothes shop.

Whilst these are dress clips rather than a brooch I am including them here because I use them in the same way and because it is my top ten so I can! My parents bought me these one Christmas and they were in a pretty little box nestled on a blue satin cushion which my mum had made alongside another couple of brooches. It was a fabulous present. I have been wearing them a lot recently to dress up a plain 1940s style dress. The last outing they had was to my cousin's wedding.

This marcasite lily with a pearl centre is from a vintage fair and I wear it often. It is delicate and glamorous but also quite simple. The petals are all shaped which gives it depth and makes it stand out. It is just lovely.

This brooch is very special but is also a bit of a departure for me as I very rarely wear gold jewellery as it often does not suit me. This was my mum's 21st birthday present from her parents and she gave it to me to wear a couple of years ago as she wasn't wearing it very often anymore and it was a shame for it to be sat in a box. I love the roses and the use of the different textures of metal, it looks great on a plain knit.

I could also do a top ten china flower brooch post as I am really enjoying this style of brooch at the moment. This is from a charity shop and is in good condition. It is quite hard to find ones that are complete as they are so delicate and the edges of the petals and leaves (as you can see here) can easily be broken off. It is possible to find undamaged ones and I don't mind a bit of wear and tear as it probably means it has been worn and loved and I like that. China flower brooches are just so pretty and do look in a cluster like a massive bunch of flowers.

So these are my current favourites. Do you have a current favourite brooch?